Tag Archives: California

Interstates of Steel

Is this the light at the end of the tunnel to ensure efficient passenger service?
Could government ownership and maintenance be the light at the end of the tunnel to ensure more and more efficient passenger service? Photo credit: adamr.

For years, Amtrak has been getting delayed by freight traffic on the tracks where it runs, which in itself is ironic because those very same railroads prided themselves in timeliness when they operated passenger services. However, this isn’t just about Amtrak. Transportation agencies looking to add commuter service to relieve congestion on their crowded freeways, but often run into a railroad unwilling to allow those trains to operate over their tracks.

As such, perhaps it time for the government to own, maintain, and dispatch all  the major rail corridors in the country, just like is done for major roads and airports that are also critical components of our transportation system. Could that be the answer to the problem of providing more efficient passenger service as well as just getting more  passenger service period?

Benefits

Several benefits  could emerge from such a proposal. The first is clear: the ability to provide more passenger service, especially for commuter agencies. The second, though perhaps not quite at all as obvious, is that it would open up the rail industry to the winds of the great free market in a way not possible in the past. The third is that regions could provide the best rail infrastructure appropriate for their area. All of those are benefits that both SoCal at large and the IE would greatly appreciate.

Better passenger rail options

With the Inland region continuing to grow, our transportation agencies are running out of ways to keep people moving. Yet, while the area is crisscrossed with hundreds of miles of track and is investing hundreds of millions of dollars of its own money into projects that at least in part, benefit the railroads (aka grade separations, especially the Colton Crossing), a lack of capacity from the freight railroads means that the ability to further pursue rail options. For example,  RCTC is looking to provide passenger rail service to the Coachella Valley region and is interested in making good use of the imminent Perris Valley Line by offering more connections. However, that would require operating on either BNSF’s or Union Pacific’s tracks, something which UP is not known for being extremely open to and BNSF is not particularly  famous for either. Other projects around the IE would also greatly benefit from the ability to better operate over the regions rails. Proposals to provide train service to destinations such as Ontario International Airport, the High Desert, the Temecula Valley, and other points in the area all continue to run into the same problem.

More competition among, less regulation of carriers

New ownership can also lead to increased competition among carriers. As it is, many railroads have varying agreements for ‘trackage’ and ‘haulage’ rights on each others’ lines. With a single owner entity in charge of the rails themselves, every railroad would in effect have trackage rights everywhere and the race would be on. There would be direct competition among the carriers because they would all have the option to serve all customers. Such a move could also even spur entrepreneurship in the sector as a startup railroad would no longer have to try to find a right-of-way to buy and refurbish or go through the arduous process of establishing an entirely new one, one that is perhaps right next to an existing line. Additionally, it could greatly reduce or completely eliminate the need for the Surface Transportation Board to set rates for some services as they do now.

Regionally-appropriate infrastructure

The ability for regions to provide the right rail infrastructure for their area is another huge area of opportunity and one that would be exceptionally beneficial to SoCal and the IE. In addition to the aforementioned congestion benefits that could come from increased passenger operations, this area is the home to the worst air quality in the nation and the residents of the IE and the LA Basin have suffered the ill effects of bad air for decades. While some of it may certainly be due to China, most of it is homegrown, with transportation accounting for a significant source of that pollution. Improvements are occurring, but a lot more needs to be done to meet emissions targets that are quickly approaching. While certainly not the only strategy necessary, one large area of opportunity rests in a reduction in use of diesel locomotives, especially in the LA Basin area, by way of electrification. Currently, the major freight railroads in the region (BNSF and UPRR) are not extremely interested in paying to electrify a small portion of their extensive national networks. However, it could be accomplished on the local scale by transportation commissions or MPOs such as SCAG.

Sooner = better

There’s no time to waste, tomorrow beckons. As it is, billions of dollars are to be poured into the rail network of this country over the next couple decades, with a significant amount coming from government already. While some of the proposal will certainly be quite controversial and require lots of lawyers in long meetings, the end result would be a system that is optimal for industry, customers, and purposes of the public good. As such, the process should begin as soon as possible so that those can be realized in a reasonable amount of time. We owe it to ourselves to do so.

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Get Assessed: Two FREE Opportunities to Improve the Streets

Often, the “high cost” of bike/ped infrastructure is thrown out as a reason why it doesn’t need to or can’t be included on a project.  This is almost always a patently false assertion and data continues to come to the rescue. Nevertheless, many agencies do not allocate their funds properly, resulting in an imbalance in priorities. As a result, bike/ped funding receives mere pittances, especially here in the Inland Empire. That is particularly glaring when receipts are low. While there are plenty opportunities to combine bike/ped projects into others, that often requires having a vision and plan.

Planning isn’t cheap, but doing stuff without a plan isn’t necessarily a good way to go about things. However, that acts as a barrier to agencies that don’t do a good job of allocating the funds correctly because it would take prohibitively long just to gather the funds for the planning, to say nothing of anything beyond that. Fortunately, there are two opportunities now open to California agencies to help get some stuff done for their communities at no charge to them. Yes, they’re free. Just apply.

The first is for technical assistance available from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. This opportunity appears to be mainly geared toward policy and programming side. However, with the recent influx of SRTS monies into the region from the ATP, there will be many opportunities to get some stuff going in several of the communities in the area and this grant could be a godsend to those agencies. There is so much to be done around here that the influx of money will probably have the usual players in the arena worn down to the bone. The focus is on fostering cooperation, so it appears that all groups can apply as long as they’re working a SRTS program. Applications are due by September 26th, 2014, so definitely get on your elected officials, staff, non-profits, etc. to get in an application ASAP.

The second opportunity is from the State of California’s Office of Traffic Safety. Administered by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies., they send out two experts who conduct a Bike/Ped Safety Assessment. It can be either targeted to specific problems (i.e. lots of kids or elderly pedestrians get hit, resident complaints about unsafe crosswalk,) or just have them paint a broad brush. The City of Murrieta was one local agency that was the beneficiary earlier this year of a visit from them. This opportunity has no hard deadline. However, the assessments are conducted on a first come, first served basis, though it appears that they also take the standings in the Office of Traffic Safety rankings into account and give priority to places that aren’t doing well. The opportunity is open to any agency too, so it’s important to ask as soon as possible.

Many of the cities in the region unfortunately do not score well at all, so let’s make sure that they are putting forth an effort to right that. Several scored big in the ATP funding cycle, so many of them are slightly ahead of the pack. However, there are still many more opportunities for local agencies to put forth an effort toward bettering their streets, regardless of if they won. A better tomorrow can’t come soon enough, with this being a potentially important first step. Don’t let it slip away.

Weekly Regional Roundup: Support Better Biking from the Beginning

In recent weeks, there’s been a flurry of activity in the planning arena toward making things better in the Inland Empire. In addition to the start of construction of the Pacific-Electric Trail Extension into Rialto, various agencies have other projects in some stage of planning that could certainly use some guidance to make sure the best possible stuff ends up being built. Here’s a chance to find out about what’s going on and where to direct any ire or admiration.

Menifee

The City of Menifee has released a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Cimarron Ridge Project. To put it mildly, it needs help desperately. The City’s Circulation Element of its General Plan endeavors to develop a bikeway/NEV network that would allow (and even encourage) residents to not drive within town, yet the proposed project doesn’t include adequate accommodations toward achieving that goal. This is a great chance to get a sprawling development somewhat tamed from the very beginning. Anyone living in Menifee or having an interest in the area or project should make sure that they provide comments now so that they can be addressed by the EIR. Speaking of EIR, there is a glimmer of hope because new rules are going in concerning how traffic impacts are considered under CEQA. This project offers a great opportunity to put them to the test to improve an area that has thus far developed into a textbook example of auto-centric sprawl. Notice of Preparation for the EIR is here, Cimarron Ridge Initial Study is here. Both are PDFs. Follow the links to retrieve the relevant documents and remember to get comments submitted by September 18.

SanBAG

SanBAG‘s Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Study for the Redlands (Passenger) Rail Project was released in mid-August and is now available for inspection and comment (information on how to comment), which are due by September 29. The Project has been in the works for well over a decade and is part of the larger transit improvements that San Bernardino has seen in recent years such as sbX. The RPRP will reconnect a bit of the south eastern portion of the historic Kite-Shaped Track network of Santa Fe. The eventual plan many decades in the future would continue the loop up through Highland and then west along 3rd St. past KSBD and back into San Bernardino proper, but that is years away and this EIR/EIS only covers the portion from the Transit Center in downtown San Bernardino to the University of Redlands. The Orange Blossom Trail will also be very near to it in some places, offering a multimodal experience similar to other rail-with-trail projects such as SMART in the Bay Area. The EIR/EIS is available here. There will also be a public meeting at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, September 9 at The Hotel San Bernardino in San Bernardino. Take the time to at least skim through the documents and gain a little insight.

Redlands
Redlands_BMP_Map
This map allows for easy input on ways to improve the biking environment in Redlands.

The City of Redlands is also seeking input for updating their Bicycle Master Plan. Passed earlier this year, it left some things lacking and people spoke up about that. The City apparently has listened and has taken a step toward improving things. While the finished result has yet to be seen, the interface is definitely a winner. It’s comprised of a map accessible from the City website that allows residents to input their recommendations for bike lanes, off-street paths, bike parking, and protected bikeways directly onto it. But best of all, other users can comment and vote on the recommendations that are already there. If you live or bike in Redlands, definitely head over to their website and check it out! Comments are due by September 25.

RTA
RTA_public_meeting_changes
RTA has added several meeting times to allow customers more and better opportunities to preview and make comments concerning the proposed changes.

Riverside Transit Agency is preparing for the future in a big way as well.  As the transit agency the serves Western Riverside County, they have a tall order to fill since a lot of the region is comprised of classic sprawling developments plopped along the freeways. There are many things to look at in their (Proposed) 10-Year Transit Network Plan and are now seeking public input on it. There are of course some winners and losers. Some routes are being realigned to meander less, which inevitably means that some stops are being taken out. RTA maintains that almost all customers will still be within 1/2 mile at most of a transit stop, but it’ll nevertheless be a tough pill to swallow for those who are used to having a bus stop right next to their porch. One way to greatly lessen the pain would be to make sure they support better bikeways, especially to major hubs. Also, high-quality bike parking at least at stops serving intersecting routes and major destinations can go far toward providing for those who are undoubtedly multimodal.

However, all routes are having service improvements and will all be at least 60 minute frequency. Currently, some are over an hour between buses. That 15 minute improvement makes missing the bus slightly less inconvenient.  At the other end, some routes will have frequencies approaching BRT status. Additionally, there are more indications that they might definitely be heading in a BRT-lite direction for Route 1 with both a limited stop option as well as signal priority. Of course, a decent portion of Route 1 is substantially identical to the proposed Riverside Streetcar, so it is imperative that RTA follow along with that conversation so that improvements could benefit both systems. Final comments on the entire plan are due to RTA by September 19. Access to a copy of the proposed changes is here [PDF] and a copy of the meeting notice is included here (PDF, identical to picture above).

That’s all for now, folks. If there are any other projects going on in the area, feel free to share more info so that others can add comments. There is of course quite a lot going on in the region and some stuff will undoubtedly slip under the radar without vigilance.

Progress Report: Pacific-Electric Trail in Rialto

PE Trail sign
How many people think their tax dollars aren’t getting used?

Recently, rumors were heard concerning the Pacific-Electric Trail and it being extended into Rialto. For years, the trail has ended rather unceremoniously at Maple Avenue on the border of Fontana and Rialto. As it turns out, the rumblings were true! Construction started sometime last month [PDF] and is slated to be finished in December. It’s a tall order, but swinging by last week found that most of the ~1.3 mile corridor was fenced off by the contractor and dug up with drainage improvements going in.

But as usual, a project like this doesn’t happen with any sense of urgency. This project has been a long time in the works. In 2010, the City of Rialto identified the trail extension as a partially funded capital improvement [PDF] in their four year outlook. Not surprisingly,  although trails can be great transportation alternatives and that was mildly alluded to, it really isn’t seen as a true transportation corridor to be considered as a transportation improvement and was therefore absent from that section [PDF] of the CIP. (Which is ironic since it follows a historic corridor that the town was built around.)

It then made it into the SanBAG Nonmotorized Transportation Plan that was released in 2011. In that document, the corridor was identified as a 3 mile project stretching basically the entire width of the City along the old Pacific-Electric right-of-way. It is now used by Union Pacific to serve a lumber yard near City Hall. As a result, the extension under construction now only encompasses about half of the originally proposed length (1.3x/3 miles) and ends rather unceremoniously mid-block behind some industrial buildings. Expect to see a lot of people continue their journey on to Lilac Avenue beside the tracks when the trail opens.

Rialto_Pac-Elec_map
Location of segment under construction.

Since that track maybe sees 2-3 trains a week, some sort of agreement should be reached that could allow the access to be maintained while at the same time  extending the trail. The vast majority of the time, the track sits  empty and it’s pretty evident that it’s a lightly used corridor since quite a few of the crossings don’t even have gates.

Now for the fun part: let’s look at the money. The expected cost for the original plan was $1mn/mile for a back-of-the-napkin estimate of $3mn for the entire project in the SanBAG NMTP. As can be seen in the release above, the price has soared to over $3mn per mile. The total price is now ~$4.5mn for less than 1.5 miles of trail. Funding presumably came from several grant sources, though not the recent ATP. Rialto did win some money from it for SRTS which could hopefully be used toward improving access to the  schools from the trail for students. As can be seen in the map, the trail goes right past several communities and two schools.

From the looks of it, the trail will continue the irritating configuration that it has further west in other cities. It’s a great recreational pathway, but many hoping for a useful commuting corridor run into a problem at almost every. single. street: the Trail user is presented with a ‘STOP’ sign or traffic light at almost all instances where the Trail crosses another street. This leads to a lackluster experience filled with slowing at best and takes away from the effectiveness of the Trail as being useful for people looking to go somewhere. It would be great if those crossings can be upgraded to allow trail users a stop-free experience. Some Fontana intersections already have in-ground flashers, which could be easily  upgraded to HAWK signals. Other places could get a combination of raised crossings/islands/pinchpoints,  or complete street closures. But no matter what, something needs to be done to make the trail easier to use.

Anyway, that’s all for the future. It’s great to see that something is [finally] being done after years of waiting. Hopefully, the promise of a Christmas ride holds true so that all the kids can have a safe place to enjoy their presents. Anyway, pictures are worth far more than continued talking, so here’re 18,000 words from the project area.

Separate but Equal

This post has been sitting in draft for a bit. Originally meant to be a bit of a follow-up post to All users vs. all access, it got repurposed today by some other antics that are more fitting of using this title. Enjoi.

Gutierrez and separation
Dan Gutierrez had this to say about separated infrastructure today.

Chalk up another one for outrageous/ridiculous claims column. Today saw [vehicular] cycling promotion reach a new low with Dan Gutierrez taking the time to compare separated bike infrastructure with the racially charged history of Jim Crow era. While he undoubtedly isn’t the first to draw the comparison, Gutierrez took it a step further and likely greatly diminished any positive impact. What started as a simple complaint about some new buffered bike lanes quickly reached epic heights of stupidity when he decided to really make a point by producing a graphic (original here).

The appropriate response was best summed up by a Dutch acquaintance who offered the following response:

“Wait, lemme get this straight, is this guy trying to compare the absurdity of segregation/apartheid with the lifesaving safety of good bike infrastructure/bikepaths?”

Indeed he is. This is a new twist on a common rallying cry in favor of the placement of bikes in the general travel lanes with cars/trucks/buses/??? vs. providing cycletracks. The assertion is that bikes are vehicles and are thus driven, not ridden. So as driven vehicles, operating them should be done according to “rules of the road as drivers of vehicles” and not anywhere they feel. Buffered bike lanes/cycletracks would produce a wrinkle in that by keeping bikes in those lanes the majority of the time.

The claims used against cycletracks (or even BBLs) are usually no less absurd, as has been seen already. There certainly is a danger that horrific stuff may end up on the ground, but even the Dutch don’t get everything right. Due vigilance by advocates is certainly necessary to make sure that only good stuff gets built, but there is no reason to continue the adamant crusade against infrastructure that would mitigate at least 40%  of cycling deaths as well as dramatically increase ridership. The status quo is lethal, as shown by the dismal comparison of American and Dutch cycling safety, so say nothing of the demographics represented in the pedals.

Loon fietspad
According to Gutierrez et al., this cycletrack would be better if it were scrapped because its existence is evidence of inferiority.

There is a real opportunity for such facilities to improve things. A ‘segregated’ facility does not have to be inferior nor inconvenience the users, as has been seen numerous times by the posts done by various individuals suck as Mark Wagenbuur, Mikael Colville-Anderson, etc. of the superb facilities and great leaps being taken in their local areas to encourage cycling. In many cases, they often result in a cycling experience that is superior to that of those driving. Meanwhile, we’re stuck with “the Cult of the Johns” and partners who refer to anyone not wanting to ride in the midst of traffic with choice adjectives such as “ignorant, frightened, mentally lazy, and traffic incompetent“.

This can only serve to hamper the ability for both current cyclists to gain acceptance by a wider swath of the population as well as being greatly callous and tone-deaf to history. The black community still deals with the residuals of the Jim Crow era far too often and there are many alive who actually remember using ‘COLORED’ facilities. This is not a legacy nor is it a an honorable image to invoke into the push to save lives. One can only hope that the vehicular cyclist crowd doesn’t shoot progress in the other foot too.

Diving Into the ATP

Caltrans released the staff list of recommendations for this year’s round of the Active Transportation Program funding cycle last week. In it were some winners and others for us out here in the Inland Empire.

The Active Transportation Program combined several fragmented pots of money allotted for several different years into one single feeding frenzy. Emphasis was placed on projects that benefit disadvantaged communities and Safe Routes to School and the proposals delivered.The vast majority of the proposals purported to tick one or both of those boxes, which led to some noggin scratching at some of the “disadvantaged” communities on the initial list.

Nevertheless, lots of good did come out of it. Without making this a publication to rival the length of Atlas Shrugged, a brief look at the local projects competitive at the State level [PDF] is prepared below. It’s organized by county and is based off preliminary staff recommendations. Formal adoption of the awards for the State/Rural level will occur on the 20th, after which everything that didn’t get funded goes down to the MPO level. For the Inland Empire, that means SCAG will be doling out its portion of funds to the remaining projects.

Riverside County
  • County Department of Public Health
    •  SRTS Active Transportation Program City of Perris $350k
    • SRTS City of Jurupa Valley $500k
  • Jurupa ValleySRTS Troth St. $627k
    • Pyrite St. SRTS $665k
  • Moreno Valley – Citywide SRTS Ped Facility Improvements $1.64mn
  • Perris
    • Murrieta Road Ped Improvements $1.10mn
    • Perris Valley Storm Drain Channel Trail $1.20mn
  • Riverside – Downtown and Adjoining Areas Bicycle and Ped Improvements $877k
  • San Jacinto – Safe & Active San Jacinto SRTS $989k

County IE total*: $7,950,000

San Bernardino County
No access
Colton’s award will allow them to identify opportunities to improve the connectivity of the facilities in the City, such as a connection here to the trail.
  • Colton – Active Transportation Plan $265k
  • Omnitrans ** – West Valley Corridor Connector $3.5mn
  • Ontario – SRTS Active Transportation: Bon View, Corona, Euclid, and Vineyard Avenue Elementary Schools $1.16mn
  • Rialto – SRTS Plan $1.45mn
  • SanBAG
    • SanBAG SRTS Plan $400k
    • Metrolink Station Accessibility Improvement $4.68mn
  • Yucaipa – Safe Routes to Calimesa and Wildwood Elementary Schools $872k

County IE total*: $12,327,000

*Not included in these counts were awards to cities outside of the area generally considered to be the “Inland Empire”, which can admittedly be somewhat nebulous. If all projects are included from all areas of both counties, Riverside County total would be $21,931,000 and the San Bernardino County total $13,422,000.

**Though listed as part of the county ‘VAR’ on the Caltrans worksheet, Omnitrans has been included as part of San Bernardino County totals because it operates almost exclusively within communities in San Bernardino County, with only two or three lines entering Los Angeles or Riverside counties. Without the Omnitrans award (but including all awards within the County), the San Bernardino County total would be $9,922,000.

Elephant in the Infra: Signaling

A critically overlooked component of infrastructure as it relates to biking signaling. While great strides are being made everywhere in getting more infrastructure out, the timing and phasing of signals doesn’t seem to be keeping up. Yet, just as transit priority pays big dividends for buses, bettering signaling is possibly one of the easier ways to improve riding conditions.

No doubt, interested municipalities have been held back by requirements that have only recently been lifted. Prior to December, bike-specific signals required a $20k engineering study. Each. With their provisional approval, it is now possible to install signals that give a bikes a head start in the sequence and use signaling to address the issues of noncompliance with traffic signals. For example, Chicago saw a marked improvement in cyclist signal compliance once bike-specific signals were installed as part of the cycletrack on Dearborn.

But while the use of bike signals is certainly a step forward, there are other things that can be done first. Most of the traffic signals are decidedly installed with the goal of facilitating the flow of car traffic. However, these do little to address the needs of riders which are traveling much slower. Having to stop for each and every light is annoying as a driver, but jackrabbiting between lights requires little energy in a car. As a biker, doing so saps energy and greatly reduces the distance one is willing to ride. Areas serious about not just accommodating, but actually promoting biking, would do well to coordinate their signals, at least on certain corridors, to the average bike speed, not a target car speed. These so-called ‘green waves’ allow a rider to continue uninterrupted for the length of a corridor.

If a green wave isn’t possible to apply to, then more needs to be done to ensure that the signals can still serve bicycle riders. While signals here in CA are supposed to be able to detect bicycles, legacy signals often do not detect any type of bicycles at all. (For example, this man had to wait nearly six minutes to be able to proceed.) But even when bikes are detected, the signals often have minimum green standards that are inadequate for bicycle riders, resulting in a situation where the signal length is not long enough to allow them to safely clear the intersection before the light turns red again.

To this end, several cities in the Inland Empire make use of bike-specific buttons on the road side of the signal poles (though if allowed under the CA MUTCD, these are better) while others make use of video detection. Both methods allow for detection of all bicycles (loops frequently have trouble detecting non-metal bikes) and are supposed to give the rider special timing that provides an adequate minimum green so that riders can safely clear the intersection before the conflicting lights turn green again. This is a good step forward, though it creates special problems on corridors where the lights are coordinated. Nevertheless, traffic engineers should look toward making sure that bikes have time to safely clear an intersection.

While it would be better to develop a circulation system in the region where bicycle riders can make as few stops as possible, bike-specific signaling goes a long way toward making the bike experience more pleasant. Since signals are already required to detect bicycles, many will be upgraded over the coming years as development and improvements result in new signals. With the growth in riders on the streets, keeping them safe should be a top priority and signaling helps that occur.

Missed Opportunities

One common qualm associated with bike/ped projects is that they’re “expensive”, especially when by themselves. As a result, many people balk at the idea that they be funded by tax dollars, especially when biking is still overwhelmingly viewed as a leisure activity akin to golf. “Why should we have to pay for Tour-de-France trainers?” is the general sentiment. Bike lanes on arterials sit empty all week then spring forth with pelotons on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

However, notwithstanding those out on the weekends, the vast majority of people are not willing to bike in the midst of traffic traveling at several multiples of their speed. (It may also be worth noting that Saturday and Sunday mornings have decidedly lower traffic counts than normal weekdays, so it’s likely that while they don’t mind a few cars, many of those people are also not willing to ride in traffic either.) Stats on this have been collected for years. Low stress environments created via traffic calming and/or separation bring out the casual rider that is “interested but concerned”. Striping a road that has a 35-55 MPH speed limit does not create a low stress environment.

Magnolia grade separation
Riders love the bike lanes on Magnolia.

As biking increases in popularity not only for recreation, but for commuting too, better provision for riders must be undertaken. Considering the costs associated with any infrastructure, it is imperative that the best bike facilities be planned and built from the very beginning right along with the regular road network. This avoids the costs of having to change things up later. Instead, space for cycling too often continues to be marginalized as a stripe on the side of the roadway. While these are nice on quiet neighborhood streets, they have no place on basically anything bigger or busier than that. People continue to vote with their wheels and ride on the sidewalk in locations like that.

New and redevelopment should take steps to ensure that the separation standards are adopted that encourage people to ride their bikes for more than just recreation. With the clock ticking for mandates laid forth by AB32 and SB375, drastic changes need to be made too the urban environment to meet them. Changing the status quo in building is a good place to start. Billions of dollars are flowing to the Inland Empire for infrastructure projects and development. Let’s make sure that they enhance the area and help it meet those goals and stop missing opportunities.

Welcome

Well folks, good day and welcome to the very first post here in iNLand fIEts! From these very humble beginnings, we hope to follow along as we transform the Inland Empire from the sprawl capital of the country to a more livable, workable, likable, and enjoyable urban space.

First, I’d like to explain the name. While most of us would certainly recognize the “Inland” part, I’ve added a little flair, highlighting the letters NL, which are the country code of the Netherlands. Why the Netherlands, you ask? Because they are long recognized as world leaders in building bikable cities. While they certainly haven’t gotten everything perfect, valuable lessons can still be learned from them and it’s foolish to brush them aside as not a relevant example of how things could be done here as well.

The second word follows along these same lines as well. “Fiets” is the Dutch word for bicycle and it also contains our regional code, IE, right in the center. That’s a rather interesting place to put it since quite frankly, the current reality on the ground couldn’t be further from the truth. However, I have faith that through some hard work and dedication, we can make the IE a much better place for someone who chooses (or otherwise) to get to the store via bicycle vs. getting in their car.

The transformation will not be easy. Old habits die hard. What we see on the ground in The Netherlands today is the result of over four decades of research and investment. At the same time, that means that we can (and should) skip those same four decades of trial and error, going straight to the good stuff from hence forth. Bookmark this page to keep up with the developments as they occur. And of course, leave comments on what you think. Ciao, and happy riding!